Senate inquiry and the media agenda

media_page_cameras_630x250.jpgLast week the Senate agreed to my motion that it conduct an inquiry into food certification schemes in Australia.

This was prompted by the growing number of Australians who are concerned about the number of certification schemes and the lack of transparency in relation to labelling, cost to consumers, cost to business and suggestions that coercive tactics are being used to ensure compliance.

Like many others, I too have concerns (which I have previously written about) and because obtaining any accurate information has proven very difficult, the formality of a Senate inquiry appears to be the best way to go.

If you’d like to make a submission and read the terms of reference you can do so by clicking HERE.

Naturally, the inquiry has generated a great deal of media interest. During one appearance on the ABC's Lateline to discuss the inquiry earlier this week, the interviewer even suggested that it was racist because it referred to halal (or Islamic) certification.

I politely pointed out that it couldn't be racist because Islam is not a race, to which she responded: “..well, Muslims then.”

At that point I politely explained that Muslims weren't a race either which prompted her to suggest the inquiry was targeted at Arabs!

I went on to explain that halal certification authorities exist all over the world, including the United States and not just in Arab countries. This was met with an awkward silence.

Regretfully, the entire thing was pre-recorded and much of the engagement didn't make the broadcast version, but it provided an insight into just how naive (or deliberately misleading) sections of the media can be.

You can watch what did go to air on my YouTube channel and make your own assessment.

As disappointing as experiences like this can be, it highlights just how difficult it can be to represent the concerns of the Australian majority through a media more interested in belittling them.

However, giving in and vacating the field is not an option. If we truly do want to make a difference then every conservative needs to be prepared to enter even the most hostile territory to make sure our voice is heard.